|St. Therese of Liseux|
"But you shouldn't pray to anyone but God!" Okay, here is where a change in connotations in the English language leads to misunderstandings. We shouldn't worship anyone but God. Praying is a different matter entirely. But since the word "pray" is no longer commonly used in our language outside a religious context, people have come to equate prayer with worship. The gentleman in Elizabethan times who asked a fellow on the street, "I pray thee, couldst thou direct me to the nearest inn?" was certainly not worshiping him. He was asking a favor, which was the originally understood meaning of the word. Therefore, when Catholics pray to a Saint, we do not worship him or her (worship is reserved for God alone), we are merely asking a favor, specifically, the favor of his or her prayers to God on our behalf.
I think a common, but largely unvoiced, objection to the Communion of Saints, is a certain fear that if one loves a Saint or three (or the Blessed Mother, herself), one takes something away from God. Again, I cannot stress enough the importance of the concept of the Church as a family. If you love your brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins, does that somehow leave you less love for your father or mother? So it is with God's family. Love all the Saints you want, for they are your brothers and sisters. There will never be less love left for God. Just make sure you remember who your Father is. :)
"You have pictures of them all over your house! Isn't that a little weird?" Well, I could go two directions with this (so of course, I'll go both). One is to make the very calm and reasoned point that most people hang pictures of their family in their home--perhaps even of relatives who died a generation or two before the current members were born--and no one thinks it odd. The other is to get a little snarky and point out that if you have a poster of Kobe Bryant, Beyonce, or the Jonas Brothers on your wall (or simply wouldn't consider it strange if someone did), then get off my picture of St. Monica. :) At least she's a shining example of Christian virtue, and remembering her reminds me of the life God calls me to. And how many pop culture icons can you say that about?
Rock on, Monica. And say a prayer for me. This life is beautiful, but no one ever said it was easy!